Command words

Command words are the words and phrases used in exams and other assessment tasks that tell students how they should answer the question.

The following command words are taken from Ofqual's official list of command words and their meanings that are relevant to this subject. In addition, where necessary, we have included our own command words and their meanings to complement Ofqual's list.

Assess

Make an informed judgement.

Comment

Present an informed opinion.

Describe

Set out characteristics.

Draw

Produce a diagram.

Estimate

Assign an approximate value.

Factorise

Take out the common factor or factorise into two brackets if a quadratic.

Topic paragraph

Multiply

Add to itself a specified number of times.

Mark on a graph.

Prove

Demonstrate validity on the basis of evidence.

Rotate

Turn around a fixed point.

Darken an area of a diagram.

Show

Provide structured evidence to reach a conclusion

Simplify

Collect terms together or cancel down.

Simplify fully

Collect terms together and factorise the answer, or cancel terms completely.

Solve

Arrive at answer using a numerical or algebraic method.

Translate

Move laterally without rotating or flipping.

Work out

Perform one or a set of steps or calculations to arrive at an answer.